Some newbie questions

Josip Loncaric josip at
Mon Jun 11 08:02:34 PDT 2001

"Roger L. Smith" wrote:
> On Fri, 8 Jun 2001, Stephen Gaudet wrote:
> [...] Many people nowadays are using the term "beowulf"
> to mean "cluster", [...]

Perhaps so, but this is not accurate.  There were (many!) clusters
before "Beowulf" (built at CESDIS in 1994).  There were clusters even
before there were electronic computers.  In WWII, massive computations
were done in parallel by clusters of *people* using mechanical
calculators.  Back then, their job title was "computer" (some of these
human "computers" are still to be found around NASA Langley, I'm told).  

"Clustering" is an old idea.  What distinguishes Beowulf clusters from
other clusters is emphasis on commodity components.  In Beowulf
clusters, mass market leverage is used to reduce the price of technical


Dr. Josip Loncaric, Research Fellow               mailto:josip at
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